Sunday, April 18, 2004

The nail-scarred hands

I've been leading a group which gets together to study Philip Yancey's The Jesus I Never Knew. I thought I'd share a passage from it (p. 219):
One detail in the Easter stories always intrigued me: Why did Jesus keep the scars from his crucifixion? Presumably he could have any resurrected body he wanted, and yet he chose one identifiable mainly by scars that could be seen and touched. Why?

I believe the story of Easter would be incomplete without those scars on the hands, the feet, the side of Jesus. When human beings fantasize, we dream of pearly straight teeth and wrinkle-free skin and sexy ideal shapes. We dream of an unnatural state: the perfect body. But for Jesus, being confined in a skeleton and human skin was the unnatural state. The scars are, to him, and emblem of life on our planet, a permanent reminder of those days of confinement and suffering.

I take hope in Jesus' scars. From the perspective of heaven, they represent the most horrible event that has ever happened in the history of the universe. Even that event, though--the crucifixion--Easter turned into a memory. Because of Easter, I can hope that the tears we shed, the blows we receive, all these will become memories, like Jesus' scars. Scars never completely go away, but neither do they hurt any longer. We will have re-created bodies, a re-created heaven and earth. We will have a new start, an Easter start.

This is a great book, and I highly recommend it.

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